🎧 The Myth That Fuels the Anti-Vaxx Agenda | On the Media | WNYC Studios

Listened to The Myth That Fuels the Anti-Vaxx Agenda from On the Media | WNYC Studios

Our 2012 conversation with Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science and Fear.

This Tuesday, lawmakers in Washington heard from an 18-year-old who, against all odds, got his shots. Ethan Lindenberger, who fought with his own mother to get vaccinated, told senators, "for my mother, her love, affection, and care as a parent was used to push an agenda to create a false distress."

That "anti-vaxx" agenda, the dangerous legacy of a thoroughly debunked 1998 study in the British medical journal Lancet, was dealt yet another devastating — though not mortal — blow this week, courtesy of epidemiologists from Denmark’s Staten Serum Institute. Their new study, which included more than 650,000 children, found that the MMR vaccine did not raise the risk of developing autism

And yet, even in the face of study after study, and even as websites like Pinterest have moved to stamp out the spread of anti-vaxx materials on their websites, the debunked vaccine-autism link and its impact on public health live on. In this 2012 interview, Brooke spoke with Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science and Fear, about why these myths persist.

No responsible journalist should be reporting on studies with N being so small. If they do, then they should be banned from any future science journalism.

📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
A 2015 clip about vaccination from iHealthTube.com, a “natural health” YouTube channel, is one of the videos that now sports a small gray box.  

Does this box appear on the video itself? Apparently not…

Examples:

But nothing on the embedded versions:

A screengrab of what this looks like for those that don’t want to be “infected” by the algorithmic act of visiting these YouTube pages:
YouTube video on vaccinations with a gray block below it giving a link to some factual information on Wikipedia

👓 ‘It will take off like a wildfire’: The unique dangers of the Washington state measles outbreak | Washington Post

Read ‘It will take off like a wildfire’: The unique dangers of the Washington state measles outbreak (Washington Post)

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Amber Gorrow is afraid to leave her house with her infant son because she lives at the epicenter of Washington state’s worst measles outbreak in more than two decades. Born eight weeks ago, Leon is too young to get his first measles shot, putting him at risk for the highly contagious respiratory virus, which can be fatal in small children.

📑 What I learned at work this year | Bill Gates

Annotated What I learned at work this year by Bill Gates (gatesnotes.com)
Unfortunately, there were more cases [of polio] in 2018 than in 2017 (29 versus 22).  

The numbers and rosy picture here aren’t quite as nice as other—more detailed—reporting in the Economist recently would lead us to believe.

In some sense I do appreciate the sophistication of Bill Gates’ science communication here though as I suspect that far more Westerners are his audience and a much larger proportion of them are uninformed anti-vaxxers who might latch onto the idea of vaccine-derived polio cases as further evidence for their worldview of not vaccinating their own children and thereby increasing heath risk in the United States.

Graph of Polio cases by year since 2000 as reported by The Economist

👓 Progress on eradicating polio has stalled – Infectious disease | The Economist

Read Progress on eradicating polio has stalled (The Economist)
Cases caused by viruses derived from the vaccine are a growing worry

👓 Flu Vaccines and the Math of Herd Immunity | Quanta Magazine

Read Flu Vaccines and the Math of Herd Immunity by Patrick Honner (Quanta Magazine)
Simple math shows how widespread vaccination can disrupt the exponential spread of disease and prevent epidemics.

This is a very clear and lucid article with some very basic math that shows the value of vaccines. I highly recommend it to everyone.

📺 Vaccines: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) | YouTube

Watched Vaccines: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) from YouTube

The benefits of vaccines far outweigh the minuscule risks, but some parents still question their safety. John Oliver discusses why some people may still feel uncertainty about childhood vaccinations.

No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong. | Houston Press

Before you crouch behind your Shield of Opinion you need to ask yourself two questions: 1. Is this actually an opinion? 2. If it is an opinion how informed is it and why do I hold it?

This has to be the best article of the entire year: “No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong.”

It also not coincidentally is the root of the vast majority of the problems the world is currently facing. There are so many great quotes here, I can’t pick a favorite, so I’ll highlight the same one Kimb Quark did that brought my attention to it:

“There’s nothing wrong with an opinion on those things. The problem comes from people whose opinions are actually misconceptions. If you think vaccines cause autism you are expressing something factually wrong, not an opinion. The fact that you may still believe that vaccines cause autism does not move your misconception into the realm of valid opinion. Nor does the fact that many other share this opinion give it any more validity.”

Jef Rouner
in No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong | Houston Press

 

Pictured: A bunch of people who were murdered regardless of someone's opinion on the subject
Pictured: A bunch of people who were murdered regardless of someone’s opinion on the subject